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Home > Country profiles > Hong Kong > Articles > Article detail

Why Mediation Should Be Used To Resolve Child Custody Disputes In Hong Kong

Wednesday, 15th August 2019

"When parties decide to separate and divorce, this can be devastating for their children. Parents are all too often embroiled in their own dispute to realise the effect that their actions are having on the children. It has been proven that high conflict cases have a particularly damaging effect on children. Mediation is designed to reduce conflict by helping the involved parties to reach an agreement instead of litigating in Court. Therefore, increasingly, parties are urged to engage in mediation for the sake of the children by their lawyers and the courts alike. There are also parental coordinators available to further assist in the process.

With that end in mind, since 2012 there has been a court-led process of mediation called the Children’s Dispute Resolution hearing which is compulsory if there is a dispute involving children. The aim is to: “support mothers and fathers, so that they are able to effectively parent their children post separation or divorce...that lasting agreements concerning children are obtained quickly and in a less adversarial atmosphere.”

In addition, parties are often urged to resolve child disputes using private mediation. Mediation is suited to these disputes because the parents can make detailed arrangements for their child post separation. They are encouraged to prepare a parenting plan which focuses the mind on their child’s daily routine and what is best for them, rather than the “win or lose” mindset a court case can generate. It puts the child firmly back into the centre of the parties’ minds.

The difficulty with a contested custody case is that it tends to polarise the parties into separate camps and this will often result in a destructive campaign against the other party whereby they seek to undermine the other parent, in order to bolster their case in court. As matters polarise, children suffer, as they are often caught in a loyalty conflict and torn between both parents."

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Source: Withers LLP
Language: English
Contact: Jocelyn Tsao

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